IHA Daily Briefing: June 12

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
U.S. House Holds Hearing on Surprise Medical Bills
IL Delegation Seeks Review of Federal Budget Receipts
IHA Small & Rural Meeting Addresses Nurse Staffing Ratios

U.S. House Holds Hearing on Surprise Medical Bills
The U.S. Health Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing today to consider legislative approaches to protect patients from surprise medical bills after receiving emergency care or services at an in-network hospital.

Among the proposals discussed were the “No Surprises Act,” a discussion draft introduced by Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), which would limit patient cost-sharing and resolve payment disputes between providers and insurers by establishing a median in-network rate in a geographic area. Also discussed was the “Protecting People from Surprise Bills Act,” a proposal introduced by six Representatives and based on New York laws. The bipartisan proposal would protect patients from balance billing and use an independent dispute resolution process to resolve payment disagreements between providers and health plans.

During the hearing, Rep. John Shimkus (IL-15) submitted for the record a letter from IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi, which urged the delegation to consider Illinois laws as a model for federal legislation and expressed opposition to setting payment rates for providers in federal law.

Witnesses at the hearing included representatives from the ERISA Industry Committee, America’s Health Insurance Plans, American College of Emergency Physicians, Families USA, and AHA.

IL Delegation Seeks Review of Federal Budget Receipts
On Monday, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) sent a letter to the Comptroller General of the United States requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct an independent review of the distribution of federal budget receipts and expenditures across the United States. The bipartisan letter was signed by 14 members of the Illinois congressional delegation.

The letter notes the “imbalance between the amount that residents of each state pay to the federal government in tax revenue and the benefits they receive from the federal government in the form of grants, contracts, direct payments, and other federal programs.”

In a press release, Rep. Foster referenced studies showing that Illinois loses between $20 billion and $40 billion each year because the state pays more in federal taxes than it receives back in federal spending. The letter requests an authoritative, non-partisan report examining the state-by-state distribution of federal funds, payment differential across states, and a primary explanation for fund differences.

IHA Small & Rural Meeting Addresses Nurse Staffing Ratios
Illinois hospitals united against nurse staffing ratios legislation during the General Assembly’s spring session. At IHA’s Small & Rural Hospitals Annual Meeting next week, hear a special panel discussion on the proposed bill and what’s next.

Advocacy and Policy: The Latest from the Legislative Session in Springfield will focus exclusively on nurse staffing ratios—the biggest defensive issue facing hospitals during the legislative session that ended on June 2. The panel will feature hospital nurse leaders who successfully engaged their legislators and community members on the proposal to mandate ratios. They are:

  • Kim Landers, RN, MS, NEA-BC, CNE and Vice President of Patient Care Services at Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers in Morris;
  • Allison Paul, RN, DNP, NEA-BC, CNO at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield; and
  • Lisa Klaustermeier, RN, MSN, CNO at Anderson Hospital in Maryville.

Nichole Magalis, IHA Vice President of Member Advocacy, will moderate the discussion. Magalis and the nurse leaders will cover:

  • The bill’s current status and what to expect in the fall;
  • Illinois’ current patient acuity and staffing laws, and how you can ensure compliance; and
  • Strategies to continue engaging legislators and community members.

You’ll learn more about IHA and the hospital community’s advocacy efforts during IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi’s address and the IHA State and Federal Advocacy Update presented by David Gross, IHA Senior Vice President of Government Relations, and Sarah Macchiarola, IHA Vice President of Federal Government Relations.

There’s still time to register for BE HERE: Innovations in Rural Healthcare to gain new insights into the nurse staffing ratio bill and other critical issues impacting small and rural hospitals—including emergency preparedness, healthcare consumerism and the opioid epidemic. Register today.